This new Filipino restaurant sure made me drool with its photo of Liempo Queso Fundido. For Kartilya, liempo is not enough to tease the tastebuds that's why they drowned it with cheese. I showed the said photo to an officemate and he hurriedly called someone to have dinner there. (Do not underestimate the power of cheese!)
Since my favorite date is still miles away, I bugged some of my favorite foodies if they are game to visit this new restaurant on its first day. Well, most couldn't make it as they already made plans or were too far away to make it. A though, the instigator, changed his mind and decided to tag along.
We arrived around quarter to 7 and the place was half full. Not bad for a first dinner service.
The restaurant, which used to be Wolf & Fox Gastropub, is well lit from the inside (it is dark outside and the place could be mistaken as closed) and the walls are decorated with capiz windows. The tables have dark finish too with designs that could pass as your furniture stored in your provincial home.
I was already a bit full from my quick stop at Poco Deli (which opened nearby) so I just went with the dish that made me almost bite my phone, Liempo Queso Fundido (PHP274). I wanted to stick to just one dish but I couldn't resist the Pinoy Baked Oysters (PHP152) and Pinoy Sausage Platter (PHP385).
Service was quick and our Liempo Queso Fundido was served first.
It was not as overflowing with cheese as I imagined but it was still one cheesy dish. A noticed that the fatty part of the liempo was not charred till crispy. Apparently, you could request for the chef to grill the fat and serve it crunchy. We found out a bit too late though.
The liempo was grilled just right as the meat was tender, succulent and had a lovely smoked taste. The cheese was rather mild and very creamy but went well with the grilled meat. Personally though, I want my cheese with sharper and tangier taste but I get why they went with a safer choice.
The Pinoy sausage platter featured sausages stuffed with sisig, adobo and tinapa. Just by looking at it, we had a hard time distinguishing which one's which. It was a different story though when we tasted each one. The sausages' flavors were very straightforward that you'll easily know which one is sisig, adobo and tinapa.
The sisig sausage was a bit sweeter than expected. It actually reminded me of longganisa more than sisig. Perhaps if it had slight crunch and saltier taste, it would be closer to sisig. The adobo version was also slightly on the sweet side but you could get a hint of the soy sauce base of the Filipino favorite dish. The tinapa sausage was a bit dry because of the smoked fish bits. It was also the saltiest among the three and was best complemented by the simplified version of sauerkraut. It would have been nice if there was also vinegar on the side for a more Filipino taste. (Side note: A pointed out that the garlic bread was so hard that he feared his teeth might fail him. It was indeed hard so best not to give these to gran gran.)
The Pinoy Baked Oysters was my favorite that night. The lovely fresh oysters were topped with garlic, queso de bola and butter.
The freshness of the oysters was undeniable as I could still taste the seafood's natural sweetness despite being topped with garlic, butter and cheese. But the sweeter part was its pocket friendly price. I could finally have my oyster fix every day!
While enjoying our meal, we got to chat with Jan and Trina of Kartilya and we found out that their head chef is Lika Ibarra, a former MasterChef Asia contestant. Her signature dish, Queso de Bola Bibingka Souffle is also available for diners who have room for dessert. Unfortunately, we didn't and had to stop with three light dishes. I'll be back though to try that one.
Kartilya is located at Two Parkade, 7th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.